Lira fracas: Lango MPs want government to foot medical bills for the victims

Members of Parliament uniting under the Lango Parliamentary Group have demanded that government takes responsibility for the chaos that broke out in Lira last week following the suspected ritual killing of a 10-year-old boy Dickens Okello by two Asian traders in the Northern Uganda town.

At least five people were critically injured after the police opened fire on angry protesters in Lira and Kole district where the boy was buried on last Saturday.

All the five victims were airlifted by the army to Mulago hospital in Kampala where they have allegedly been dumped by the government without care, the MPs told journalists at a press conference held at Parliament.

“We want to thank government for airlifting the victims to Mulago hospital, but we also want to point out that ever since they were brought, they have been neglected and abandoned. In fact, yesterday, some of them, stormed Parliament with demands that MPs from Lango should foot their medical bill,” Erute South MP Jonathan Odur said.

Pranau Uyas and Madahav Daga, the suspects in the Lira ritual killing

Odur argues that the people were injured by security agencies; it is the government’s responsibility to take care of the victims.

Oyam Woman MP Santa Alumu who is also the group’s vice chairperson called for a dialogue
between government and people of Lango to resolve the problems between foreigners and locals in the region. Alumu said, since last week, there are heightened tensions between locals and foreigners which may lead to more acts of violence against foreigners.

Joining the group, Aruu MP Odonga Otto asked government to investigate the cause of violence against Asian businesses rather than resorting to silencing the media in the region whose only responsibility is to inform.

Otto’s remarks were in response to government’s closure of Unity FM in Lira on grounds that it was inciting violence.

The State Minister for Internal Affairs Mario Obiga Kania on Tuesday told Parliament that the radio was taken off air at the recommendation of the district security committee after it ‘irresponsible messages’ that were intended to incite the public against the Indian community and security forces.

“These [radio messages] charged the community into violence against the Indian community and the incident left some police officers and civilians injured,” Obiga said.

Eight employees of Radio Unity were arrested as investigations into the incidents continue while the two Asians, Pranau Uyas and Madahav Daga were charged before the Lira Chief Magistrate’s  Court and remanded to prison.